College Defined Work Week, Paid Work-time, Meals and Breaks

Date: July 2016


The College maintains work hours that are consistent with state and federal law. Because of the differing nature of the range of work performed, departmental guidelines determine employee scheduling needs and should be communicated to employees as part of their department orientation.   

College Defined Work Week
The College operates two pay cycles, biweekly and monthly. The pay cycle for non-exempt employees is biweekly. The pay cycle for exempt (salaried) employees and salaried non-exempt including faculty is monthly.

The College’s standard office hours are typically Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. As an institution that provides in-residence services for students, there are many employees involved with the operations of the College that do not work these standard business hours. For that reason, and consistent with applicable wage and hour laws, the College defined work week for purposes of calculating wages and overtime begins at 12:00:00 a.m. on Monday morning and ends at 11:59:59 p.m. on Sunday night.

For hourly paid employees, all hours worked will be paid in accordance with the defined work week. The College expects all hours worked to be reported.  In the event an employee works a shift that begins in one workweek and ends in the next workweek, the employee’s wages will be allocated into work week periods based on the hours actually worked by the employee in each work week.

Paid Work-time
Work hours, meal breaks and rest periods vary according to operational need and are scheduled by the department head and/or supervisor. Departments that have “mandatory overtime/blackout” periods will provide staff with reasonable advance notice of this.

Employees who have been on restrictions or out of work due to a workplace injury are not eligible for overtime until they have been cleared by a doctor to do so.

Exempt/salaried employees

Employees classified as exempt from overtime are expected to work as many hours as necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of their position. Typically, that is at least 40 hours per week for full-time employees and often more depending on the operational demands at the time. The same applies, proportionally, to part-time exempt employees. Exempt employees who work beyond their “regular schedule” (including nights and weekends) are not entitled to additional compensation or compensatory time off.

Hourly paid employees
Work-time is defined as all time spent by an employee performing activities which are job-related. This includes the employee's regular work time, plus time spent performing job-related activities which benefit the employer. Potential work is actual work if the employer "suffered or permitted" the employee to do it. An employer suffers or permits work if it knows the employee is doing the work (or could have found out by looking), and lets the employee do it. Work done at home or at a place other than the normal work site is work, and the time must be counted (e.g. looking and responding to e-mail, returning phone calls). Other examples of paid activities are work related travel, meetings or training that occurs outside of regularly scheduled hours.  See Travel Time pay below for more details.

The College does not condone “working off the clock”. Employees are expected to accurately report all hours worked on their official time record and seek approval from their supervisor if the need should arise to work hours above their regularly scheduled hours. Supervisors are accountable for authorizing hours worked beyond an employee’s regular schedule and for approving, in a timely manner, all hours worked in a pay period in accordance with the College payroll schedule.

Non-exempt/hourly staff

Supervisors who manage hourly paid staff should be aware of their regular schedules and appropriately plan overtime based on operational needs.  Hourly employees must track all hours worked each week and Prior supervisor approval is required before working over-time. Supervisors may ask their employees to work additional hours during particularly busy times of the year and employees are expected to be flexible when these needs arise.

Essential non-exempt employees are those identified as having positions deemed necessary to maintain basic College operations during scheduled closures or unscheduled suspension of normal operations due to emergencies, events or other situations are considered. Essential staff may not work more than two double shifts in a pay week and such shifts cannot be worked consecutively, barring extreme circumstances such as a declared State of Emergency. For example, Security Officers may periodically fill in for a fellow officer and work two consecutive shifts for a total of 16 hrs. Check with your supervisor for clarification as needed regarding whether or not your position is essential.

Travel Time

When an hourly paid employee or salaried non-exempt employee is required to travel away from home overnight as part of their regular job duties, time spent traveling is counted as work time when it cuts across the employee's normal working hours, including the corresponding hours on nonworking days.  Thus, if an employee regularly works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday the travel time during these hours is work time on Saturday and Sunday as well as on the other days. If there is any work done once arriving at the destination (e.g. attends a seminar, meets clients, attends meetings, etc.) then time spent on work activities is paid time.  Meal breaks are not paid time unless there is work being conducted. If there are no work activities, any time once reaching the destination is not work time and is not compensated.  Department of Labor (DOL) regulations provide that any time outside those hours spent traveling as a passenger on an airplane, train, boat, bus, or car is not considered work time. (29 CPR §785.39) If an employee is offered public transportation but requests permission to drive her car instead, the employer may count as hours worked either the time spent driving the car, or the time that would have counted as hours worked if the employee had taken public transportation. (29 CFR § 785.40)

Any questions regarding what is paid time should be directed to Human Resources. 

Meals and Breaks

Lunch breaks are scheduled by supervisors and may be staggered to provide adequate office/service coverage. Maine law requires that most employees be given at least a thirty-minute unpaid rest break (that may be a meal break) if they work 6 consecutive hours or longer. In exceptional circumstances, an employee may voluntarily request that this meal break be waived in order to accommodate an alternative schedule. If the supervisor approves, the employee and the supervisor must document the alternative schedule in writing, noting that it is voluntary and may be discontinued by either party at any time.

Morning and afternoon paid breaks or rest periods of no more than 15 minutes, although not required by state law, may be permitted with the supervisor's approval if the workload permits. Unused breaks cannot be accumulated for later use, late arrival or early dismissal, credited for paid-time off, or taken incrementally. In certain working conditions (e.g., extreme heat or cold), more frequent rest breaks may also be approved by the supervisor. When the operation is able to support break periods, employees are expected to return to job duties in a punctual manner. If not adhered to supervisors may deny the privilege of morning and afternoon breaks or an hourly employee may have their pay docked.

Bona fide meal periods (typically 30 minutes or more) generally need not be compensated as work time. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purpose of eating regular meals. The employee is not relieved if he/she is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while eating.